I attended the learning festival yesterday and having big expectations, I was a little let down. I previously visited 2 years ago and found the whole experience very rewarding. There were teaching resources available, free samples, interesting innovative unit work and very enthusiastic staff. This year was the complete opposite. It felt like there was too much focus on the technology rather than the learning. There were smart boards on every wall and endless amounts of limited and pointless software and hardware. Fake guitars that looked like something out of Rockband, foam balls that play music, quizzes and games controllers, even PSPs. The focus was on learning through games though a lot of the stands failed to address the main issues in teaching today; budget, staffing and the Curriculum for Excellence.
Even the councils had gone ‘gimmicky’ featuring Doctor Who stands and Guitar Hero. I couldn’t find an application or any information of vacancies or help for newly qualified teachers or students. I don’t expect to go to a festival and have to face the horrible realism of teaching, though I do expect support and information, something I was struggling to find.
On a brighter note, there were a few things that caught my eye, like Dell’s ‘Oscar’ below, a talking, hand-shaking and sweet brandishing robot.
There were also incredible little animations being made by primary school children in the Glow Lounge. Having a word with a few of the pupils, I discovered they had been working on the short film for around 2-3 hours and had 64 seconds of footage, but it was definitely worth it. When I interrupted them, they were in the middle of shooting a horrible car accident.
On the other side of the hall primary school children were working on batiks. They had just finished colouring them and had hung them up to dry when I snapped a quick shot of the textiles.